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18 August 2023

Equinor Unveils New Offshore Oil and Gas Discovery near Bergen, Norway

Norway’s Equinor has made a fresh oil and gas discovery to build up additional volumes of hydrocarbons close to the operational Fram field north-west of Bergen on the west coast.

Results were reported today from an exploration well and an appraisal well drilled about four kilometers south-east of the Fram field, which the company has been operating since 2003.

Today's find continues a golden run for Equinor in the area where nine of the 12 wells drilled since 2019 have been successful.

Geir Sortveit, Equinor’s senior vice president for Exploration & Production West, said: “It is positive that we can still make such discoveries in an area with a good oil and gas infrastructure, allowing the discoveries to be developed at low costs and with low CO2 emissions."

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said the first wildcat, identified as 35/11-26 S, and known as Crino, made a new discovery.

It encountered a seven-metre thick natural gas column and a 26-metre oil column in the Heather Formation, in sandstone layers totalling 33 metres with moderate to good reservoir quality.

NPD said preliminary estimates place the size of the discovery between 1.5 and 5.5 million cubic metres of recoverable oil equivalent, estimated to be an equivalent to between 9.4 million and 34.5 million barrels of oil.

The oil and water contact was not encountered in this formation, NPD said.

However, the Brent Group and the Cook Formation were water-filled with moderate to good reservoir quality. The secondary exploration target in the Lista Formation was not encountered.

The second well, 35/11-26 A, and known as Mulder, encountered sandstones of moderate to good reservoir quality in the Heather Formation, however, the reservoir was aquiferous.

Oil and gas were also proven in shallower intra-Heather sandstones in both wells, NPD said.

The licencees will now assess the discovery in relation to existing infrastructure in the Fram area, along with other discoveries in the vicinity.

The wells in water depth below 350 metres within production licence 90 have been permanently plugged and abandoned, according to NPD.

Both wells were drilled using Odfjell Drilling’s Deepsea Stavanger semi-submersible, which will now drill wildcat well 30/11-15 (Krafla Mid Statfjord) in PL 035 in the North Sea where Equinor is the operator.

Equinor is the operator of PL 090 with a 45% interest, with partners Vaar Energi on 25%, Inpex on 15% and Neptune Energy on 15%.

Neptune Energy’s Managing Director in Norway and the UK, Odin Estensen, said: “We congratulate Equinor for their safe and successful drilling operation, which again proves the potential in the highly prolific Fram area.

"Its close proximity to existing infrastructure provides potential opportunities for a low emission, cost-efficient development.”

The licensees consider the discovery to be commercially viable and will consider the potential tie-in to other recent discoveries in the area, via existing infrastructure, Neptune added.